Does Chris Moore have a 5 Second Grudge Bike: Hell Yeah!
by Tom McCarthy
The entire motorcycle drag racing world was stunned to it’s core by a drag bike pass that occurred during Cecil Towner’s Horsepower Hustle event on October 22nd, 2022. A Grudge bike stopped the clocks with an elapsed time of 5.966 @ 229 MPH. A self-starting, no-bar street bike with a drag radial tire, a glorified street bike put the no-bar bikes into the 5’s.
The run occurred close to 7 PM on Saturday night, the last day of competition. The track scoreboards were digitally turned off, to not display times for the Grudge bikes. But the timing system timers were on, for the time slips only. Once slips are produced, they are cut in half with scissors, lengthwise, so each racer can only receive data on their run. This prevents racers from seeing an opponent’s data.
Fondon had requested a quarter mile time from the event director for a full-pull for his bike, which is unusual for a Grudge bike, as they only race 1/8th mile. But racers, being racers; he and his crew wanted to know the answer to the nagging question Grudge guys all eventually face “What could it do in the quarter-mile?” Only one way to answer that question correctly.
When Chris Moore got wind of this just moments before the run – Fondon was going 1320 – he told his team, “That’s it, we are doing this, quarter-mile, a full-pull it is: let’s do this!”
Moore performed a light to moderate burnout with Melania and chose his groove prior to staging. Chris Moore was gone like he launched off an Aircraft Carrier deck. Less than six seconds later, he crossed the finish line at VMP and recorded the first sub-six-second pass ever by a no-wheelie bar bike.
As bedlam ensued with rabid elation in the Moore Mafia pit area, as word spread, so too did disbelief that such a thing could happen. In six decades of recorded motorcycle drag racing history, no piston-powered, non-slick, no-bars drag bike has ever entered the five-second elapsed time zone. In fact, only close to a dozen Top Fuel motorcycles have ever recorded a five-second elapsed time. So for a non-nitromethane-powered drag bike to suddenly enter the five’s, the doubting and finger-pointing was quick to ensue.
As the next few days unfolded and videos of the run surfaced, everything began to come more clearly into focus. Not only did the videos help to sway believers, but highly respected veterans of the sport, and well-known authorities began to weigh in, giving credence to the scenario that this did happen.
In light of all this, the Senior Editor at Dragbike.com, Tom McCarthy, took it upon himself to go directly to the source. On October 26, 2022, he visited the shop of Chris Moore, at his business, Cycle Specialties Performance, in Taylor, South Carolina, to view the time slip in person, photograph the bike and see firsthand the specifics. In doing so, Chris Moore and his staff, including BJ Humphries, who tunes the bike, came to the forefront and showed everything they had, unflinchingly, to verify this run. Dragbike.com was even privy to see the ECU data, in full on the lap-top. YES, this run was legit, and it did happen.
On Saturday night, October 22, 2022, Chris Moore, at Virginia Motorsports Park, in Dinwiddie, Virginia did indeed lay down a 5.966 elapsed time @ 229 MPH. And as a point of interest, the bike did slip the tire no less than two times during the pass and crossed the finish line while on the rev-limiter.
For thousands of motorcycle quarter-mile drag racing aficionados worldwide, they all want answers – what was the combination, how did this happen?
Melania is a Grudge class competition drag bike, built specifically for the classification of Pro Boost (turbo adder). The bike was originally built by drag bike racer Damian Caruso of Connecticut, who owns the bike. “When I first built this bike, it was constructed in my garage. Anyone can build one just like it for around 50K” he was quoted as saying during a recent interview. After Damian raced the bike a bit upon conception, he decided to place it in the hands of Moore Mafia, to see what they could do with it.
When the bike went to Cycle Specialties Performance, Chris Moore, his brother Alex, and tune-up master BJ Humphries began upgrading the bike as needed to make it a potential winning Grudge bike. In its current configuration, replicating this bike would cost someone in the neighborhood of close to 80K, at today’s market prices in the fall of 2022.
This drag bike sports a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 frame, altered with a “Short Neck” modification. No other alterations to the frame have been rendered. The DME Racing swingarm is actuated with a Penske air shock. At the time of the first 5 second ET pass, the bike was set to an 81” wheelbase.
Of great influence in producing the stunning ET is the power-to-weight ratio. The bike’s weight on the scales is said to be 430 pounds or there-about. The actual weight is classified information. The drag bike pilot, in leathers, race-ready stands ready to mount the bike at 155 pounds. So the wet-weight combination, ready to stage at the tree is in the neighborhood of close to 585 pounds. With a motor sporting a DME Racing Turbocharging system and the combination rated at about 800 BPH (Brake Horse Power), this bike is half the weight and half the power output of today’s world record-holding motorcycles.
Remember: Lighter is always quicker, and quicker means quicker ETs and quick wins races. MPH is a function of raw horsepower and generates the greatest MPH numbers.
The motor in the bike is a 2001 GSX-R1000 Suzuki based combination with the cylinder and upper-case section integral with one another. The cases and cylinder are OEM equipment, with minor adjustments to accommodate the less than 1200cc motor displacement. The cylinder head is a 2007 OEM unit, slightly massaged by SRW Precision Race Engines. The head received a port & polish, over-stock valves, and SRW built the entire motor.
Fuel is VP Racing M1, Methanol.
To put the power to the pavement, a 6-Speed Robinson Industries, factory-type transmission is housed in the stock GSX-R1000 cases. An MTC Engineering Gen II, wet clutch set-up handles the 800 ponies with ease and precision.
This motorcycle is self-starting, but Moore is pushed back after every pass to preserve the motor. However, Chris Moore has been known to take this bike out for a spin locally to buy lunch when he needs a quick bite to eat. The 16v battery system is vital and works well. The rear of the bike sports a 200-pin RK 530 Pro DR chain, connected to a rear 17” BST Carbon Fiber rear wheel provided by Brock’s Performance. Both of the BST wheels sport Worldwide Bearings ceramic bearings from Dave Conforti.
One of the more stunning aspects of this monumental run is that it was made on a motorcycle drag radial tire. The Dunlop DRAGMAX 190/50/17 Radial rear tire is purpose-built sneaker designed for any serious contender in motorcycle drag racing.
The body of the bike is all carbon fiber by Montgomery Motorsports, with alterations as necessary by Moore Mafia. On one run Chris had a sudden power loss that pitched him forward and his face, protected by his helmet, slammed into his windscreen. The resultant bodywork damage resulted in a field expedient repair, giving rise to a look that can only be described as battle-tested. Moore commented, “This bike is like a night in jail.”
The unique color of the bike is 100% rattle can, rubber-based, safety lime, neon green. A YouTube viewer once commented to Chris that the bike, when it was buff, looked like all the other bikes and was therefore not very distinguishable in videos. Chris Moore cured that, now everyone knows about the lime neon green Grudge bike.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN
Chris Moore has been a part of the Grudge Bike racing scene for a while now, and everyone knows his name. And that Damian Caruso sought him out was obviously a great move. The Cycle Specialties Performance team in the shop, and their interactions with the entire Grudge community, all played a hand in what was learned that went into that final tune-up. The real story here is that in motorcycle drag racing, success always depends on the combination. It’s never any one thing or person that delivers monumental results. The future belongs to those who embrace and cultivate it.
For a run like this to happen, first, the drag bike had to be well-built and properly prepared. Chris Moore, Alex Moore, and BJ had that bike on point. BJ, who has over a decade of tuning computer and engine systems, knew exactly what to do and when to do it. Then at the crucial moment, Chris Moore drove it like he stole it.
Another critical part of this equation is that Tyler Crossnoe and his team at Virginia Motorsports Park had the racing surface set on kill for drag radial tires. Tyler commented in a post-race interview, “I guarantee you no one was going to walk on that race-track and walk out to the tree.” The racing surface was human fly paper, guaranteed to rip the treads off anyone’s $200 Nike sneakers.
The achievement by Chris Moore’s team, with Damian Caruso’s ‘Melania’, was not only the quickest and fastest no-bars bike pass ever recorded in the history of motorcycle drag racing, but it’s also a technological wake-up call. One sending shock waves throughout the motorcycle drag racing community like ripples across a pond.
People will be talking about this pass for years to come. What will follow, will change many things about motorcycle drag racing. As for Chris Moore, his final comment about the run was:
“How ya like me now!”
To settle some of the controversies surrounding this run, racers who do not know Grudge need to understand some things that are well outside the norm for motorcycle drag racing. The reason the time slip can’t be shown is that by generally accepted Grudge racing rules, if a racer and machine show numbers on a scoreboard or a time slip, they may be barred from competition for at least one year from the date of the incident.
At VMP, as at other race tracks that host Grudge racing events: Time Slip Booth attendants have to use a pair of scissors and typically cut time slips in half, lengthwise, right down the middle, and a racer fetching a time slip will only see and receive their portion of a time slip. No one gets to see anyone else’s data. All time slips are altered, by track personnel, not the racers.
When a racer requests a full pull, it’s generally done, after hours at the end of an event. The bikes almost always are set up only for 1/8th mile, the first bike to the stripe wins. It’s important to note there are frequently thousands of dollars at stake about to change hands at every Grudge race. They don’t really care about records; they are there to get paid. That Chris Moore happened to cross a monumental threshold in motorcycle drag racing was a by-product of the performance of Grudge bike racing.
And in the words of the legendary pro mod racer, Joe Franco, “the numbers add up!”
Moore Mafia will have Melania out again at the next HorsePower Hustle event at Gainesville Raceway on December 9-10, 2022. And Dragbike.com will be there covering all the action.
|Until Next time…
– Tom McCarthy